TTY News Services Over Phone Lines and Message Services
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TTY News Services Over Phone Lines and Message Services

From the Paul and Sally Taylor Collection at SMECC



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Ed Sharpe asks  Paul Taylor how the  controller pictured above  functioned.


Paul state "Golly, that was some 40 years ago. I'm still not sure just what it does exactly but I get the feeling it was built to accept a phone call from a distant TTY. Something like on the first ring, it would turn on the punched paper tape reader and send the contents of the tape (announcements, news, deaf gatherings, where and time of meeting, etc) to the receiver. All that information would be printed on the originator's TTY paper. Then at the end of the loop, the tape would stop and the TTY printer would come on to receive a typed message the originator wanted to send like "thanks" or corrections if the sent information did not have the right date or time of a meeting or whatever.

The electronics is simple, really. A relay would be used to turn on the punched tape reader on the first telephone ring. Also the same relay at the same time would connect the telephone to the modem and the modem would send tones over the telephone line, etc. At the end of the tape, a special code maybe all five punched Baudot code holes would signal the tape reader to stop and turn on the TTY printer adjacent to the tape reader to receive whatever replies would come from the originator. After a quiet period like 15 seconds if the TTY printer does not print, then the whole unit shuts down for the next caller. The phone company as I remember had those special relays and switches, etc and are available from the maintenance shop in the phone company. The telephone servicemen knew me well and it was no problem getting those special relays.

Maybe this helps ? Paul"


The Deaf Messenger was built (or rather fabricated) using relays and the punched tape reader. Sally would type on the paper tape the weekly news and what's going on in the Deaf community . The tape would be some 12 to 20 feet long depending on the amount of news. After she's done, the ends of the tape were taped so that you have a tape loop. At the end of the news, there would be a 'V" cut out so the electric eye would sense the end of the tape and signal to the tape reader to shut off. Then the teletype would come on to receive comments from the viewers . After a period of quiet time, like fifteen seconds, the teletype and Phonetype were automatically turned off and the phone relay contacts were closed effectively hanging up the phone for the next call. Yes, I built all that and it wasn't too difficult as much of the devices were from the laboratories at Monsanto Chemical where I worked. It was around the year 1972. I remember how popular the Deaf Messenger was as it received many messages each week. Many of the Deaf events throughout St. Louis were advertised on each caller's teletype and made it possible for many people to know what events would come in the next week or two. At that time there were some 75 to 100 teletypes in the Deaf people's homes throughout St. Louis and across the river in Illinois. A tremendous jump in communications for the Deaf community where messages were conveyed only by postal mail and personal eye to eye contacts. A truly exciting event for everyone !!

The Deaf Messenger was located in our basement near the photo darkroom. It was especially busy during the evenings and weekends when everyone was at home. Sally and I would remark often how many times the messenger turned on and off each evening. David, our son, was about 7 years old that time and he would smile each time he heard the messenger came on.

What fun it was !! Nothing like it.





From the Paul and Sally Taylor Collection at SMECC

In the above message there are weather  reports but  more important is the  historic invitation  from Paul Taylor to Robert Weitbrecht  to try the  weather bureau  line  for the deaf  to use.  Robert asked to be remembered to Mr. Woodward ( AKA WOODY) near the  torn section of this TTY message.


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St Louis  UPI Weather  for the Deaf  over TTY  1969
(From the Paul and Sally Taylor Collection at  SMECC)




From the Paul and Sally Taylor Collection at SMECC

From the Paul and Sally Taylor Collection at SMECC


From the Paul and Sally Taylor Collection at SMECC


Original St Louis Deaf Messenger controller at right  which was  replaced in 1972.




The Improved  St. Louis 
Deaf Messenger Service- 

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From the Paul and Sally Taylor Collection at SMECC


P.O. Box 1001, Sta. A 

Menlo Park, Calif. 94025 
Oct. 24, 1971 

Box 1001, Sta. A 
Menlo Park, Calif. 94025 
June 8, 1970 
(FIGS-BELL-LTRS response type) 

(Revised from Sept. 3, 1970)
January 6, 1971 


The Message Control Unit (MCU) is a device which permits the use of a Model 14-type Transmitter Distributor for transmissal of short-message announcements or lengthy bulletins, (READ REST IN PDF)


Bill from APCOM for the new equipment for the 
St Louis DEaf Messenger 3-8-72

There are 2 warranty cards with the serial number of  the units ...  we would like this  units if they  turn up  to add to the archive here. 

Note also the note  stating how many rings it was set to pip up on  etc... by Robert W?


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From - From the Paul and Sally Taylor Collection at SMECC

Proceedings of the
of agents of

Gallaudet College Washington, D.C.
November 13-14, 1971

Published by
Indianapolis, Indiana 46206


Appendix H

NEWS SERVICE N.Y.- N.J. NEWS CENTER 201-796-DEAF (201-796-3323) By: Lee Brody

I had admired the deaf messengers of Boston and Washington, D.C. and I received many helpful suggestions and schematics on how to build one for the N.Y.- N.J. area. However I was at a disadvantage. I couldn't understand the technology on how to build one nor did I have the time to learn, so I hired three different professional TTY technicians to build one for me.

The first news service was somewhat similar to the Boston deaf messenger which consisted of a Apcom modem, Apcom automatic control unit, two M14 transmitters, one M14 reperforator, and four DPDT relays. All of this equipment was stacked on top of each other onto one M15 table. This system was started up by using the function Bell switch in the M14 reperforator when the key upper case "s" was pressed. The first tape announced the station and date then it stopped on sensing a blank character to place the apparatus into position for receiving the callers message or news contribution. Then the caller would press upper case "s" to start up the second tape which contains the N.Y.- N.J. News.

This system was in operation for several months and proved to be unreliable. It was too easy for the caller to accidentally trip off the second tape when the upper case "S" was pressed during the course of typing in a news contribution. There were complaints that either too much news was left out or the tape message was too long. Soon the novelty of calling the news center wore off and the number of callers dropped drastically.

The second news service apparatus now in operation, consists of six M28 tape transmitters, one M28 KSR printer, one Wheelock relay, seven relays, one idle line control unit and one Essco modem. (Figure 1) This news service was designed to work with any modem that may come into the PTTY network. In this way, new modem designs could be tested for compatibility. The automatic control unit was built at a cost of $25.00 by using readily available components.

A "Figs" and "H" at the end of the tape caused the motor stop control to stop the TD and the M28 printer. The stunt box of the M28 printer controlled the selection of the tape message. A "carriage return" and "line feed" in the beginning of the tape placed the stunt box in a non-select position so that the news contents could not trip off another TD. Six DPDT relays that came from discarded equipment control the six TD's. All the other TD's are disconnected when one TD is running so that it is impossible for two TD's to be running at the same time. The idle line control unit that came from discards of printers causes the News Center to shut down after one minute if there is no signal on the keyboard loop. The news service is ready for the next caller. The Wheelock signal relay is activated when the phone rings and closes another relay that electrically "takes the phone off the hook" and turns on the modem and news service. The phone handset is left in the modem cradle at all times.

The first tape from the first TD announced the "bill of fare" in less than one minute such as the following:

N.Y.-N.J. News Center  - November 12, 1971

press three keys

N.Y.-N.J. News changed Thursday .... Figs H 2
Social Events in December .......... Figs H 3
Test tape  ..........................Figs H 4
Mass. D.M............................Figs H 5
RTTY message-turkey picture .........Figs H 6

Each tape is designed to be approximately five minutes and to appeal to a wider diversity of callers. The test tape is used when a new PTTY station is installed. The installer tests the performance of the printer, modem and telephone lines while he resets the range finder to optimum performance. Pictures are sent on the news service so that children may color them with crayons. Bulletins from other news centers, clubs, or a radio are on a separate tape for the interested caller. There are several other spare contacts in the stunt box for future additional services. One stunt is for

a TTY time clock that announces the time in GMT in the beginning and end of each tape message. One stunt is a special code addressed to members of the N.Y.- N.J. PTTY committee.

Mounted next to this news center equipment we have a complete radio-TTY receiving station still in experimental stages. This consists of four radio receivers (3-R390A and l-75S3C), four RTTY converters (TTL-2 and ST6 and CV57 with TT-63 and CFA-l), five radio antennas, and four M28-three speed reperforators. (Figure 2) Each converter is controlled by a time clock and solenoids. The radio news bulletins may be played through the news center completely automatically upon selection of the stunt box. We are experimenting with two types of RTTY messages. One is a tape loop that has been re-edited and the other is "live" news straight from the radio. When this RTTY system has been perfected and all legal requirements have been met, then this equipment will be part of the N.Y.- N.J. PTTY News Center.

The third news service apparatus is still under construction. It is a dual audio tape recorder system with a telephone answering service and a two tone remote control transmitter. To make it suitable for PTTY the entire device has to be custom made with a high precision motor drive. This equipment will be placed in different parts of the state in N.Y. and N.J. This equipment is quite compact and can be placed unobtrusively in someone's apartment. Callers to the News Center need only to call the nearest news station to get the N.Y.- N.J. news which would be the same news throughout the state and toll free.

The main News center calls each of these audio tape recorder stations and sends a certain tone on the phone lines. This certain tone places the recorder into "record" mode and then the PTTY message is transmitted. A different tone places the recorder back into "playback" mode ready for individual callers. With this method several callers would receive the same message at the same time at lower phone rates. Important announcements such as a storm warning or details of funeral arrangements can be quickly dispatched. When this audio type news service is in operation, we will publish more details.


From the Paul and Sally Taylor Collection at SMECC

From the Paul and Sally Taylor Collection at SMECC






From the Paul and Sally Taylor Collection at SMECC)


CONCEPT:  There is in the St. Louis area a network of teletype machines used by the deaf to communicate with one another. These machines are very similar to the teletype machines used by the various wire services. 

If the deaf community could receive the wire service the teletype could become for them what the radio and television news broadcasts are for the hearing.

The prospect of setting up a link between the UPI and the deaf TTY network was discussed with Bill Ketter. Bill was immediately in favor of such an arrangement, checked with the Chicago and New York offices, and within a week authorization was given to go ahead with the project. 

The UPI has donated the use of its broadcast newswire to the deaf community. 

TECHNICAL: Western Union supplied a special high speed mercury relay and power supply 'Which repeats the UPI signal into a terminal unit; a device which converts the on-off pulses of the UPI into two audible tones, which then can he carried over regular telephone lines. The deaf person turns on his teletype, and dials a special number. A data access' arrangement answers the call and completes the link to the UPI. The tones come over the telephone line, are picked up by the acoustic coupler, and are converted to direct current off-on pulses at the receiving terminal unit which operates the teletype machine.

The terminal unit was developed by a deaf electrical engineer in Menlo­Park, California. Robert Weitbrecht, the inventor, is a radio amateur known on the air as W6NRM. 

The DEAF/UPI System was put together by two Monsanto Company employees: Paul Taylor, an electrical engineer and Fred Stewart; a chemist;' Both are 'deaf. They are responsible in their spare "moments" with keeping the 180 teletypes in the deaf network functioning as well as rebuilding old machines for new deaf, subscribers. 

PROBLEMS:  The technical problems were slight -- 'the system worked perfectly. The main problem is getting enough phone lines installed at the UPI office so that a number of deaf-people can receive the UPI at the same, time. (One regular telephone line is required for each person who calls in to get the news). Southwestern Bell Telephone Company was approached for advice. One of their teletype engineers, Tony Delgado, . very generously volunteered his own time and helped in working out some of the details of the technical link-up and was instrumental in getting the Missouri Club Chapter of the Telephone Pioneers to foot the bill for one of the lines to the UPI. Unfortunately the telephone company was not able to donate any service, either free or at reduced rates, as has the United Press International.

An interested businessman is paying the costs of a second line into the UP! office and deaf TTY subscribers will be able to afford the cost of two additional lines which are soon to be installed.

The charges run about $17.00 a month (plus installation) per line and, of course, anyone that would like to sponsor a line so that more deaf families can receive the UPI would be contributing to a most worthwhile work. Contributions can be made on a tax deductible basis. 

RESPONSE: The UPI has been available to the deaf community for about a month and the response has been very favorable. "Turning on the news" now has a special meaning for deaf families that it never had before. The UPI is to the deaf as radio is to the hearing. The final score, the temperature, the latest happenings throughout the world 
are now available. 

One of the more interesting uses of the UPI is being made by the Central Institute for the Deaf. The Institute has a teletype. The older students are given the honor of being "UPI Monitor" and get the latest news from the machine several times a day. The news print-out is put up on the school bulletin board with the Sports Round Up, World in Brief, Weathervane, and Headlines each having a special place on the board. This constant up dating of the news has given the students a new awareness of the world and has helped greatly in increasing their vocabulary. 

The United Press bas become a tool in several of the classes, especially social studies and geography. The impact of the news flash and the immediate disclosure of details as they come to public knowledge is a completely new experience for the deaf students. 

The faculty as. well as the students follow with interest the latest. from the wires of the United Press International. 

For additional information contact David Bates or Paul Doran at 773-2929.


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From the Paul and Sally Taylor Collection at SMECC




Sally Taylor tells us about the above photo... - "Tony Delgado, Senior Engineer from Southwestern Bell Telephone Company, St. Louis, MO. was a wonderful friend who helped the St. Louis TTY group get as many obsolete TTYs from the phone company. Delgado was also instrumental in helping make the UPI News Service accessible to Deaf TTY owners who would dial a special number and get the latest world news, sports and weather in print-out. He is seen third from left, presenting a check on behalf of the St. Louis Pioneers to Russell DeHaven, President of the St. Louis Telecommunicators, a local organization consisting of TTY owners. Others in photo are, left to right, Joe Hamilton, a member of Southwest Baptist Church who worked closely with the church pastor, Dr. Ed Hewlett, Sr., second from left, in raising funds to transport TTYs to various Deaf communities throughout the USA. The two others standing at right are Howard Schwartz who was Treasurer for St. Louis Telecommunicators, and Paul L. Taylor, who was instrumental in setting up the St. Louis network that began with two TTYs and soon grew to over 100 local owners.

From the Paul and Sally Taylor Collection at SMECC


From the Paul and Sally Taylor Collection at SMECC


From the Paul and Sally Taylor Collection at SMECC

Paul and Sally Taylor pause to  read the  news off the St Louis Deaf Messenger broadcast on the Teletype
... to the right is Irene Taylor (later Brodsky) who directed the award-winning movie "Hear and Now".
 This production, telling the story of her parents geting CI's won the best movie award at Sundance in 2007.




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